Introducing our Minister

Rev Brian Jolly

Welcome to the website of Altrincham United Reformed Church! I hope you will find the website interesting and helpful, and that you will come to worship with us and share in the life of the church as we grow together in the Christian faith and share in God’s mission in the world.


Below are a few paragraphs to introduce me to you.

Revd Brian Jolly

First, a few words from me about the church -

The people who are Altrincham United Reformed Church worship God as we find him in Jesus, and in God’s name we try to serve the communities and the world of which we are a part. And we believe God uses us as a channel of his grace and love.

The success of this local church, as with any local church, is dependent upon the level of the commitment of its people to God and to one another, the extent to which we are prepared to be sacrificial in our worship, witness and mission, and our openness to God’s leading us in new ways of being the church.

We have taken several really important steps which demonstrate these things:

  • we have appointed a full-time Children and Young Families Worker  -  in the person of John Brown (you can read more about John and his work with us elsewhere on the website)
  • we have refurbished the worship area at our Trinity Hale building in order to to provide more suitable, attractive and flexible accommodation for worship and other church & community activity
  • and we now provide an additional weekly worship opportunity in the form of a short communion service every Thursday morning at 10am at Trinity Hale.

We believe these steps are significant indicators of our desire to be a local church which is focussed on worshipping God and being involved with God in mission, rather than simply maintaining the church  -  for without mission there can is no church. We are called by God to be like a laboratory, not like a museum!

I am massively encouraged by these steps taken by the Church Meeting, and I believe that we have an exciting time ahead as we continue to discern and follow the lead of God’s Spirit.

Now a few words about me -

I was born in north London and lived in Tottenham for 22 years attending High Cross Congregational/United Reformed Church. I confirmed my faith in 1972 as one of the first new members of the United Reformed Church. Following A levels I worked in the Civil Service and in 1978 began training for ministry at the Congregational College and the University in Manchester. Denise and I were married in 1979.

I was ordained in Blackburn and inducted into a pastorate of 3 local churches there (Mill Hill, Cherry Tree & Tockholes). Within 18 months Mill Hill and Cherry Tree were talking about consolidating their resources in order to bring release from a mill-stone of a building and enhance the mission potential of the church. The union occurred in 1984 with the creation of a new united church named Woodlands, using the former Cherry Tree buildings.

In 1987 we moved to Bolton where I served the Bolton North Group of Churches (11 United Reformed Churches including an infant united Anglican/United Reformed church). Initially I worked with one non-stipendiary minister colleague, but after 3 years we had a team of 5 ministers. During this time a major refurbishment of our church in Adlington was started and foundations laid for it to become a united Methodist/United Reformed church. 

In Blackburn I served as a chaplain at Blackburn Royal Infirmary, and in Bolton at Bolton Royal Infirmary and Bolton General Hospital. 

We moved to Stockport at the beginning of 1991, with Sam who was born in December 1987 and Peter in January 1990. Hannah arrived in June 1994. The Heatons United Reformed Church was a new fellowship created in 1990 by the union of 2 United Reformed Churches (one formerly Congregational, the other formerly Presbyterian), using the buildings originally erected in Heaton Moor as St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. During the second half of my ministry in The Heatons, Stockport the church agreed to approach the local Methodist church with a view to a union of the two churches in order to release a large building for sale and invest the proceeds in strengthening and developing the church’s mission. This union was eventually agreed and a new local Methodist/United Reformed church was formed.

In 2005 I was called to be minister of Altrincham United Reformed Church, a newly formed local church* operating from two sets of buildings in Hale and Timperley. I am pleased to be minister here and am supported by a great team of elders and a good colleague in Phil Reeve, our Children and Young Families Worker. The elders’ meeting works along with many members of our 2 congregations to lead the church in response to God’s call to engage in God’s mission locally and around the world.

For the past 20 years my ministry has been enriched through regular visits to Palestine and Israel where I now have many friends and colleagues in the indigenous Palestinian Churches, especially in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. I am a trustee of the UK Christian charity Embrace the Middle East (formerly BibleLands), and currently Chair of its Council of Trustees.

( * Altrincham United Reformed Church was formed by the union of 3 former local churches – Trinity United Reformed Church, Bowdon, Woodlands United Reformed Church, Timperley and Hale United Reformed Church. Since 2005 Altrincham United Reformed Church has continued to use premises in Hale and Timperley; the building in Bowdon has been sold.)